Trail Blazers vs Suns Monday, 04/26/10 AT 07:30PM

Hot Start Proves Costly For Blazers In Game 5

  1. Written by: caseyholdahl  / avg. rating: 3.0

    Throughout the regular season, the Portland Trail Blazers rarely found themselves on the bad end of blowout losses. But in their first round series against the Phoenix Suns, the Blazers have been unable to keep the losses close. Game 5 was no exception, as the Trail Blazers fell to the Suns 107-88 in Phoenix

    Down 3-2 in the series, the Trail Blazers now face elimination as the series heads back to Portland for Game 6 on Thursday.

    The Trail Blazers jumped out to a quick start in the first quarter, taking an early 23-9 lead six minutes into the game, but the early success came with a cost.

    “I thought fell into their tempo," said Trail Blazers Head Coach Nate McMillan. "I thought the quick start we got some easy shots and towards the middle of that quarter we started taking jump shots, quick jump shots which we missed which in turn led to fast break points. We got caught up in their style of play."

    Playing at Phoenix's uptempo pace seemed great with the Trail Blazers hitting nine of their first 11 shots, but when the jumpers stopped falling, the tempo at which the game was being played proved detrimental to the visitors.

    "We didn’t control the tempo," said Jerryd Bayless. "We were playing great, but we were playing at their tempo and playing great. We were obviously making shots and when the ball was moving everybody was contributing. But we were playing at a fast tempo, and you’re going to have dry spells in any game and when we hit that dry spell, you could see we were playing at their tempo and they kept it going and they were able to get back in the game."

    Bayless, starting for the second-straight game, finished the night with 17 points, four rebounds and four assists.

    Portland managed to hold the Suns starters in check, but Channing Frye and Jared Dudley provided a solar flare-sided spark of the bench, helping the Suns outscore the Blazers 46-24 to close out the first half. Phoenix never looked back, extending their lead by shooting significantly more free throws and pulling down more rebounds, especially on the offensive end.

    “Offensive rebounds and their bench got in the big score," said Andre Miller. "They get 20 and 19 from Frye and Dudley; turnovers and offensive rebounds. It’s tough, but we’ve still got more games to play. They played with some energy, desperation after we got off to a good start. We made some turnovers that gave them some breaks that allowed them to get second chance points and get to the free throw line. We kind of killed ourselves because we played decent defense but we didn’t get the rebounds.”

    Miller lead the Trail Blazers with 21 points on 6 of 12 shooting. He also added four rebounds and four assists. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 17 but managed just two boards on a night where Portland was out-rebounded 41-29. Marcus Camby, who dislocated his right pinky finger in the second quarter, ended the night with seven points, 11 rebounds and five assists.

    Brandon Roy, in his second game back since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, battled foul trouble and conditioning, finishing the night with just five points in 19 minutes.

    Roy who came off the bench, said after the game that he would ask McMillan to start Game 6 in Portland.

    "I don't think the guys are quite used to me coming off the bench," said Roy. "It's hard for me to kind of get my touches and try to get into a rhythm. Hopefully I'll be able to start for the next game."

    To stave off elimination and make it to the second round of the Western Conference bracket, the Trail Blazers will have to do something they have yet to accomplish so far in this series: win two games in a row.

    "It's a seven-game series," said Roy. "It's not over yet. That's why the (Game 4) was so big. Now we've got a game back in our building and we're going to need to step up. We're going to have to play really hard because they're going to look to close out it."

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